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December 4, 2010

Pre-winter meeting tidbits (Part 2): Top free agents, vet starter, Reimold, Gregg

Again, I’ll start with something that certainly won’t appeal to the masses. If you’re expecting the O’s to be players on any of the top remaining free agents -- and really, why would you? -- don’t hold your breath. For several reasons, ranging from the players' unwillingness to come to a losing organization to the Orioles’ unwillingness to match their asking price, the Orioles aren’t legitimate suitors right now for Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre. Sure, this the “No Duh” tidbit of the year, but I thought I’d mention it again because it seems there is a small segment of the fan base that expects Beltre to become an Oriole. Look, things could change and Beltre, who apparently doesn't have a Boston return in his future after today's Adrian Gonzalez trade, could suddenly warm to the idea of being an Oriole. The Orioles also could strike out in their other pursuits and decide to make a huge offer to any of the players above, but they’d have a heckuva lot of ground to make up.

Here’s another tidbit that certainly won’t shock you: From what I hear from different baseball executives, Scott Boras’ asking price for free agent first baseman Carlos Pena is really high right now. Pena has interest in coming to Baltimore, and you can’t rule out the Washington Nationals or even him returning to Tampa Bay. But it will be interesting to see how high the Orioles are willing to go. Their first base options are dwindling by the day.

I’ve also heard that Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has made several calls to teams with starting pitching depth. Both MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter would clearly be more comfortable with another veteran starter to put somewhere in the rotation behind Jeremy Guthrie and provide what Kevin Millwood did last year, hopefully with a lower ERA and loss total. I don’t think free agents like Doug Davis, Kevin Correia and Dave Bush fit the bill, prompting MacPhail to explore trade options.

While the Orioles aren’t shopping Nolan Reimold, they have at least contacted some teams to gauge their interest in the young outfielder. Just my opinion here, but I think to move Reimold now would be selling way too low. Unless another team views him as a legitimate trade piece -- and I highly doubt that after the 2010 that Reimold had -- why not just allow him to come to spring training healthy and focused and see whether he can rebound? If Reimold has to spend a little time at Triple-A and wait for Felix Pie or another outfielder to get injured or to slump, so be it.

On the bullpen front, I wrote yesterday that the Orioles have at least one offer out to a reliever (not including Uehara). I still don’t have the guy nailed down yet, but I have heard from multiple places that the Orioles are pretty interested in Kevin Gregg, who converted 37 of 43 save opportunities for the Toronto Blue Jays last season. The Orioles like plenty of other relievers, but I don’t see them sacrificing their second-round draft pick to sign a Type A bullpen arm, like Grant Balfour and Matt Guerrier. Jesse Crain is looking for a two or three-year deal similar to what Joaquin Benoit got from the Detroit Tigers, so you can forget about him, too.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 4:38 PM | | Comments (60)
        

Comments

Awesome. Now that the O's have struck out on any upgrades that would have been willing to play here, they're going to waste their money on a multiyear deal for a reliever.

I guess Andy hasn't learned from Mike Gonzalez. Or Jamie Walker. Or Danys Baez. Or Chad Bradford. Or any other reliever that has signed a multiyear deal recently.

I can't say I'm surprised.

Jeff, do you ever get tired of writing the same stuff every year? You might as well substitute "Mark Teixeira" and "John Lackey" for "Adrian Beltre" and "Cliff Lee", and you could have used the same article you wrote in 2008 and 2009. It's such a joke, and I really don't know why I waste my time following this team. At least you get paid for it!


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Jeff Z's reply: Yes, in fact, I do.

Have the Orioles shown any interest in Brandon Webb?

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Jeff Z's reply: Not that I've heard. Also not sure that the American League East would be the best place for Webb to work off the rest and prove he is healthy in order to get a lucrative long-term deal after next season.

The O's stink 'm glad we got the ravens

Can you see the O's obtaining Mark Reynolds AND Carlos Pena?

I'm hoping that they go with one or the other and not both. Way too many K's. Hopefully, if they pick up Reynolds, they have a different plan of attack for 1B.


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Jeff Z's reply: Yes, assuming Beltre is not in play, I don't know any other 3B available other than Reynolds and maybe Wiggy. As for first base, Pena, LaRoche and Derrek Lee are kind of the last men standing. I just don't see them looking at guys like Branyan, Nick Johnson or Blalock unless it is really late in the offseason and there is nothing else out there.

"I just don't see them looking at guys like Branyan, Nick Johnson or Blalock unless it is really late in the offseason and there is nothing else out there."

That's when Andy makes his moves though, Jeff. That's when he shines!

Trading Reimold is a big mistake not giving him one more year is completely moronic, I can understand not landing top tier Fa talent or trading the farm away for a one year rental but giving up him is dumb especially if they are keeping Pie over him. He had ONE BAD year, the year before was stellar and played hurt meanwhile if Jones sneezes the wrong way he gets a week off they pamper the rest of the Dl ridden "talent" Jones,Pie,Wieters. He played thru his longer then he should had.

Someone mentioned acquiring both Pena and Reynolds. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Two batters that can't hit .200 and a combined total of 400 strike outs... AL East pitching would eat us alive, kinda like they do now...

Hey Jeff, other than the losing aspect of why big free agents want to come here, is there another reason you think free agents done want to come here. Like the management situation or a bad fan base.

Also, I would like to ask you why the Red Sox werent interested in Beltre that much. I mean he was a perfect fit with the green monster.

My last question for you, is other than the biggest names in Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, is there any big name free agent that could shock the O's fan base and sign with us. Thanks, keep trying to give us any hope man.

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Jeff Z's reply: The losing is the biggest reason obviously, and there is also the obvious dilemma of the O's being in the AL East. It's very hard to imagine an organization which has lost for 13 straight seasons being able to compete with Boston and NY. I can't speak for Red Sox about Beltre but obviously they had Youkilis to move over to third, and Gonzalez is a huge upgrade. But make no mistake, not everybody is completely sold on Beltre as a player who is worth 65 or more million. No, the top remaining free agents are pretty obvious - Werth, Crawford, Lee, Konerko and Beltre, and I'd be extremely surprised if O's got any of them.

there won't be anybody left.other then the leftovers. that right up mcfail alley.the

Thanks Jeff. It sounds like you are as frustrated with the current situation as the rest of us. I agree with you about Nolan, Pie would have better trade value.

I'd much rather see them sign LaRoche than Pena. He is much more consistent and will probably come cheaper. I'm ok with trading for Reynolds he has serious power and is still young enough to hope the K's will lessen in time.

I don't see the need to trade for a veteran starter. Give VandenHurk a chance to to earn the spot. They have so few chips to trade I'd hate to see them waste any on a bottom of the rotation guy. You can always trade for one at the end of spring training if no one stands out.

we need to get rid of the unbalanced schedule. it is completely unfair. we have to play the red sox and yankees almost 40 times a season. when the white sox, angels, rangers and twins don't come close to that total. bring back the balanced schedule and add another round of playoffs. that way we can at least be more competitive than we are now.

but it is what it is. if you want to be a fan of this team you have to accept that we have no hope in competing in the free agent market. and trading for something is slim to none. basically we need to hit every draft pick. and of course the orioles lack badly in the scouting department compared to the budgets of other clubs.

we suck, we will always suck. you just have to enjoy baseball, enjoy watching other teams visit camden yards and enjoy the few decent ballplayers that the team has.

I agree with brandon.

You can have unlimited payrolls or you can have unbalanced schedules. You can't have both.

I think you miss understood my question Jeff, but its ok. This is basically my question. Who do you think will be playing third and first for the Orioles next year? I am hoping its Beltre and LaRoche.

Earlier i said if there was ONE big name free agent we are most likely to get, who is it. I know the chances are slim to none getting who is left, but if there was a CHANCE who would it be in your mind? Thanks

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Jeff Z's reply: If I was to guess - and again, strictly a guess - I'd predict LaRoche at first, Reynolds and third and Izzy at SS. But again, that's just a guess. I don't think the Orioles are going to sign any big-name free agents, unless you consider LaRoche, Pena or Derrek Lee big names. I think the O's will wind up with one of those guys.

What would it take to get Ike Davis from the Mets to play first base?

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Jeff Z's reply: He's not going anywhere.

"...not everybody is completely sold on Beltre as a player who is worth 65 or more million."

This is exactly WHY the O's need to do make that offer. They need to sign a player in which they have a legit chance of winning the bid, and filling a big hole. Reynolds 200K's, mediocre fielding, and sub 200 average AND fairly large salary are NOT worth the price.

Go for Beltre strong, and maybe Lee or Laroche.

I like the idea of signing Gregg. He would be a good acquisition.

The only thing I have to say about the club's philosophy about "buying the bats" is I am in total shock, I really am, that they would flat out lie to the fans about this. I feel terrible for guys like Markakis and Roberts who seem to have been misled also. Not much else to say if this is the case, which it appears to be. I'm so relieved I did not renew my season tickets.

Jeff,

Have you heard how close we are to making a deal for Reynolds? If we could get him and a Derrek Lee or Laroche that would be a significant improvement. Any idea of the extent to which the O's may be interested in these guys?

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Jeff Z's reply: Not anymore that I wrote earlier that the O's feel a deal is available to be made but they are not blinking on asking price. I think it will get done. I haven't been able to determine yet how the Orioles have ranked Pena, LaRoche and Lee. I've certainly heard the most about Pena so I'd assume he's at the top but Boras' asking price has certainly turned the O's off a little.

Fax a five year, $90M contract offer to Scott Boras and Adrian Beltre will be our new third baseman in a heartbeat.

Since Beltre is looking for $15M per for five years (and he's not going to get it), I'd say $18M per from the Orioles ought to do the job to get him here.

If you get Beltre to play third, I'm totally fine with getting LaRoche to play first. And with those two bats in our little bandbox stadium, we might actually win a few more games than usual.

Of course, it's not going to happen. Anyway, $18M per and five years guaranteed for Beltre would be nuts. A sane overpay would look something like this:

Four years guaranteed
Year 1: $15M
Year 2: $16.5M
Year 3: $17.5M
Year 4: $19M
Year 5 Vesting Option*: $20M

Total guaranteed: $68M
Total with option: $88M

*Make it a performance based vesting option. Not sure what to base it on. Any ideas?

And why not toss some performance incentives throughout the deal. Bonuses for Gold Gloves, MVP votes, Home Runs. Toss in the kitchen sink.

The hope would be that getting Beltre to play here would be a massive upgrade, but also a huge step towards luring other free agents to Baltimore.

But whatever. I'm done dreaming. To say that acquiring Beltre would be difficult is true, but nothing is impossible. As evidenced by his agent, his deal with Seattle a few years ago and the fact that he accepted a one year deal last year to get his value back up, it's plain to see that money is high on Beltre's list of priorities. Money talks. The Orioles have it. Why not use it for something that would actually benefit the team, the fans and the city?

Alright Jeff, I'm gonna ask, and I already know the answer. But I'm weak and need a hug.

David Wright. Sure, yeah, the Mets are in rebuild, it's old school Management in NYC from the McPhail era connections...it...could...ha...

(yeap...it's looking that bleak for hope. Detachment...that sweet embrace I know so well.)

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Jeff Z's reply: I wouldn't think so Paulie. Alderson would have to have some serious guts to make his first big player move trading the team's best and most marketable player, and the face of the franchise. But it doesn't hurt to ask, does it?

Jeff,

So what's the long view? I don't want to ask you to put yourself in MacPhail's head and speak for him, but what is the plan in your estimation?

We fans keep hearing things like "grow the arms, buy the bats," yet no bats are being bought. We keep hearing about how important the minor league system is, yet, after the arrival of the "cavalry" in Baltimore (Matusz, Wieters, Arrieta, et al.), who's left down there...and why is the answer "almost no one?" Such questions could go on ad infinitum. International scouting/signings? Well, the O's closed down one Caribbean location just this offseason. Domestic scouting? Not only do the O's have fewer scouts than any other team in the division, the O's let several go this winter.

And digging deeper in re: the "buy the bats" failure...what's with the "competitive offer" rhetoric; specifically, why do we keep hearing it? I don't want to belabor the point, since I know you've heard about almost nothing else since Dunn signed with Chicago, but MacPhail has to know/comprehend that "close" doesn't cut it when you're stewarding a team that's been awful for more than a decade (not to mention one that plays in the toughest, stat-depressing division in baseball). As a fan I simply can't conceive how/why MacPhail, even if he didn't believe Dunn was "worth" more than 40 million over 4 years, would think that his offer was satisfactory...OR that agents would feel the need to come back to him with counteroffers when better teams drive up the prices for their clients with or without Oriole participation. It doesn't make any sense at all. In fact, it's moderately insulting (in my opinion), and made all the worse by the fact that it's nothing new around these parts. Indeed, it's gone on for years.

Would Mark Reynolds be a solid addition to this team? Sure, but he's no savior. He'd be a power threat whose OBP/plate discipline would probably make him only mildly useful to protecting the hitters around him. Worst case scenario: in a little-improved O's lineup, Reynolds once again gets consistently pitched around and reproduces his 2010 in Baltimore.

I apologize for writing so much, so I'll close by repeating my initial question: what is the plan? We fans are still here. We're still watching and listening. Unfortunately, most of what we seem to be catching is static...so what on Earth is it going to take for MacPhail to realize that's entirely unacceptable, and when/how do things change?

Thanks.

I am a life long Oriole fan and this is my first post on here. I, much like many Oriole fans had a real postiive feeling at the end of last season, we had an experienced manager, we were winning ballgames, and the effort was just amazing. Then today happened. The trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. It was not just the fact that the Red Sox got him that upset me , it was the fact of how?

I mean we have been the laughing stock of baseball for so long, we have constantly picked in the top part of the draft, and yet we do not have the talent to trade to get anyone. I mean Boston is a good team, drafts in the lower rounds and yet still some how has the talent to trade, just like the Yankees or just like the Angels, Rangers, etc. the list goes on. How does this happen? How does the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? I mean even when one of the major power house teams bring up someone in the minors( which is rare) ala Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes, Jacob Ellsbury, Kevin Youkalis, the list goes on, they produce. Notice when the Orioles bring up their "prospects" Rocky Coppinger, Matt Riley, Calvin Pickering, Adam Lowen, and every cant miss prospect we have, how many have stepped in there and done anything? Answer is not many.

Our minor leagues are terrible, the free agents are spurning us, and no one will trade with us because history shows, from top to bottom, Ownership, Management, Scouting, it all sucks. We are not going to be relevant until Peter Angelos sells this team. This offseason has been a slap in the face to all the fan base, I can go on and on on everything thing that is wrong in this organization. No more promises Andy Machphail, no more plans A. B's, and C;s. You and the whole FO need to admit that we are a small market team now, it disgusts me when you are saying your looking for a big bat, corner infielders, pitching, bullpen help, and everything else under the sun, but what is happening?? Nothing, absolutely nothing. While everyone else is getting what they want, what they need, we are continuing to fall into obscurity. So Machail, Angelos, you might want to wake up, before you sleep another season away.

Jeff,

Please tell me that the Orioles front office is not looking back at August/September and deluding themselves into the idea that the team can actually compete this year. Please tell me that they know we need at least 4 or 5 legitimate guys to make this team a contender. Please tell me that this is all a bad dream.


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Jeff Z's reply: Wish I could, Joe. I do think the Orioles know that they need significant talent upgrades to continue what started in August. But knowing that, and doing something about it are two different things.

Jeff, with all the players who rejected arbitration, the compensatory round could be so big that the O's second pick easily could be as late as the 50th pick in the draft, or even later. Giving that up for someone like Balfour doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

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Jeff Z's reply: That's a good point.

Miggy's off the board now, but there is good news--Garrett Atkins is still out there. Maybe Andy could also lure Trachsel out of retirement to be the 2011 innings eater.

Nowhere that Beltre has been, has his team won. BoSox miss playoffs w best pitching (ERA), Mariners were horrendous w him in power spots, Dodgers too. None too worry tho O's fans, we won't be inb on his sweepstakes, we'll more likely trade away our future closer, Hernandez, for a Mendoza line, occassional big fly scrub named Reynolds. in the words of Charlie Brown..."Ugggggggggghhhhhhhhh!"

Jeff,

Sometime is helps when current O’s players are out persuading FAs to come to Baltimore. Any word on O’s players promoting Baltimore?

Keep up the great work!


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Jeff Z's reply: Nope, I don't hear that is going on.

OK, sports fans, let's recap:

Yankees resign Mo and Jeter for $32 mil per season. Are a lock to sign Lee, and are among the favorites for Crawford.

White Sox sign Dunn, are going to keep Konerko.

Red Sox acquire Gonzalez.

Tigers sign V. Martinez, although Orioles were close enough to be seen in the rear-view mirror.

Now, while these teams have improved themselves, and will continue to do so, big time, the Orioles have .... DONE NOTHING. So, instead of closing ground on the Yankees and Red Sox, they are now, and will continue to be FURTHER behind than they have been for the past 13 years. Is that possible? They're sure trying hard to make it happen. All they have to do is nothing, and we know they have no equals when it comes to not trying. Pathetic. Just downright pathetic. What a bunch of losers. Like an earlier poster said, thank God for the Ravens.

Hey Jeff,

It's good to see everyone is having an exciting Saturday night, including myself. =p. Although, the Sabres and Senators was a really good hockey game. Also, some good college football is also being playred. Seriously, though. I have to comment on some thing as usual.

Mark Reynolds strikes out way too much.
213 strikeouts per season for the past three years. That's unfathomable. I really can't say anymore about it.

Jekyll & Hyde
I'm so relieved I did not renew my season tickets.
Did it really take you this long to do so?
To be honest Peter Angelos should have some sort of rebate program for all season ticket holders

All Orioles fans who think the Mets are going to trade Davis and Wright. You really need to reevaluate your baseball acumen. The only one who might be traded is Beltran. As for me, just say no to Beltran.

Balfour is crazy to think someone is going to offer big bucks for his services. There's no way a team would do that and give the Rays a high draft choice. That's just plain "Nutty"

Not Brooks,
I know you love Beltre, but 90 million dollars. No! Beltre is not coming here. You need to look deeper.

Come on all you debbie downers out there in Oriole Land. There's still some hope somewhere... not sure where though lol

O one other thing even though it appears the Red Sox got A Gonzalez on the cheap. What did he ever win? He certainly did not help them get into the Playoffs in 2010. In fact they were shutout in the there last game. We lost nothing there.

PS We better give Jim Presley something to do. He' s an outstanding hitting instructor in my opinion. I hope we don't waste it on players like Mark Reynolds and players like him. It would be nothing short of tremdous to Alex Gordon in a trade and have "Jimmy" work out what issues that Gordon has.

Other than a paycheck, whats the point of following an inept organiztion in a fading game ?

If I had one way to describe the Oriole's approach to free agency it would be stubborn. I can't believe that they don't realize they have to overpay to sign a quality free agent, but they're obsessed with not paying over "market value" (which seems to be quiet a bit less that what the rest of the market seems to think it is). They have to know that they have to overpay, but do not seem to be willing to. It's pure stubbornest and it's hard for me to wrap my mind around.

Mr. Angelos, Mr. McPhail, I implore you, spend the money to buy a bat. Spend the money, win the games, and we will return to OPACY in droves. Spend the money, win the games, and 13 years of failure will be forgotten. Spend the money, win the games, and we will sing your praises. Mr. Angelos, you have to realize that this team is more that a business, more than an investment. This team is part of the heart and soul of a city, and this heart and soul is slowly dying a horrible death.

Adrian Beltre goes Andruw Jones 2 years into his deal (fat and slow) and mysteriously gets 2 -3 years older.

However, given the potential for hyper inflation in the US economy, the O's should offer 50% mark ups on salary and cover themselves in the currency markets. Imagine in three years, the O's have a $150mil payroll that should be $300 mil adjusted for inflation?

Just need a crack currency trader to make it happen.

Thanks for the responses Jeff.

It makes me so sad to read all of this. Ever since an October night. The wind held up a Hoiles homer and then Benitez got beat by Tony Fernandez ( what was he then 40?) on a slider. He could throw 100 mph, but chose sliders in extra innings that night. Cleveland won.. and we haven't smelled October since. How long ago was that? I don't even remember anymore.

Then Angelos. God, don't even get me started. He never let some very good GMs do their work. Angelos loved Bobby Bonilla; that says it all.

I was born and raised in Balto. Season tickets since I was a litlle boy. First game 66 Series. I root for the Red Sox now. It just started hurting too much.

If Ripken ever gets involved....

So... the Sox gave up their no. 1 pitching prospect (who got torched in AA), their no 1 pick from last year (who struck out a lot in A and a 6th round pick in '07 that hit a whopping .260 w/ 25 HRs between A/AA last year and struck out a ton for AGonzo?

Did they lose the O's phone number or something?

Hell... Britton and any 4 players off the Baysox would have beat that deal.

To be honest, the most important thing in 2011 is the progress of Showalter in building our nucleus of Jones, Matusz, Arrieta, Markakis, Wieters, and Pie.

Whether or not Lee, LaRoche, Reynolds, or even a Beltre were to come here, O's management is not positioning the team like we are one player away, because they are are right, we aren't. I'm not convinced Wigginton is much worse than the names floating out here on the FA market, so I'd be fine standing pat.

The O's shouldn't be looking outside the organization or even to the farm for help. The critical thing this season is for the nucleus to start learning how to win and play smart and consistent baseball. Hopefully next offseason we'll be one or two players away from making a run at the postseason, and then we can splash the cash. This offseason, I'm not that concerned.

This season, it's all about Buck and the young bucks.

As a lifelong O's fan (and after reading waaaaaaay too many of these postings), I've come to several conclusions:

1)This team ain't goin' anywhere until we start "growing the bats" along with the arms. Look at the Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox. Sure they can go out and get the best FA at any price. But each of them also has a solid core of homegrown pitchers/position players that started their current runs of success, from which they could continually build around. Plus, once they had that core, they didn't stop scouting or drafting well. Face the facts: The O's well had been BONE DRY for nearly 2 decades up until a couple of years ago (I'll give you Olson, Moose, BRob and Nick, but that's it...I'm not counting Schilling/Finley/Werth cuz we didn't keep 'em). But even now, there just isn't a lot of top talent at AA or AAA (explains why the Sox can make a deal for AGon and we can't). We've made a good start with Matusz/Arrieta/Wieters, and don't forget Roberts and Markakis. But we need to continue the trend year after year. For a whole decade, we've squandered high 1st round picks with nothing to show for it. We need to build UP first, then build AROUND. I don't think it matters who we sign right now, because we have so many holes to fill (1B, 3B, SS, LF, 2 SP, half a bullpen), there's no way to do it all in any one year. Whether it's Beltre or Berkman or whoever. We need to show the big FAs that there's actually a semblance of a major league team already in place that's worth coming to, and the way to do it is down on the farm. The idea of free agency is to round out your team with the missing 1 0r 2 pieces, not overhaul it entirely. We did that in the early PA years, and haven't won since. Matter of fact, just look at the dropoff from our '97 wire-to-wire to '01. Almost as bad as '83 to '88!!!!

2)Speaking of around: no matter what FAs come here, we're going to have to overpay a lot. From Cliff Lee to Derrek Lee. From Werth to werthless. 13 straight losing seasons in the AL Beast doesn't exactly scream "this is our year". That's a fact the FO has to realize. You can't have a "comfort zone" if you're serious about upgrading the talent that your farm system hasn't produced. Lots of holes to fill, and it's gonna take double what the winners will offer to fill 'em.

3)Not that expectations aren't already low enough, but how about just trying to sign guys that can stay HEALTHY? How many O's not named Markakis or Roberts can you name that have 1)played 140+ games in consecutive seasons and 2)put up good numbers? Why would anyone think that Pie deserves a shot at a starting OF job? He's shown his 5 tools for 1 game when he hit for the cycle, and that's it. He's a BPUPO (Bench Player Until Proven Otherwise). Same with Reimold. Talk about regression from '09. Also, tough injury to come back from period. BPUPO. Whoever we sign, first make sure their DL time is low.

4)No more Luis Matos syndrome: young guy gets overhyped or has a good 6 week stretch, next thing you know, he's the second coming. If there's a player out there to be had that's better than the one you have, go get them. I guess this applies mainly to Josh Bell and Nolan Reimold, neither of whom I'm sold on. We always fall into this trap: some late season call-up gets hot, or some prospect shows modest promise. What do we do? We give them the starting job, ask them to put up the same numbers over a grueling 162 game season (which they haven't come close to playing), and then crossing our fingers that it all works out. Hasn't happened. Get the best guys you can get, or at least the steady eddies that can get it done. Let the kids prove they can play, and earn their starting jobs.

It's gonna be a few more bad years before we start to get good again. I think AM knows this, but do you think he's gonna be honest with us about it? Not if he likes being employed.


Not Brooks,
I agree Andy is ultimately just going to need to overpay dramatically for one guy to get in the game. I thought VMart was the guy this year. That said 5 years for Beltre? 3 years into that we'd all be killing Andy for the way that contract is keeping Cal from being able to sign someone else. The guy has had 2 years in his career worthy of the numbers you suggest and, of course those were both walk years...

I've never posted here before, but I needed to vent. I'll admit I'm overly optimistic and forgiving (maybe even bordering on Warehouser-quality), except I think Mr. Angelos is the only real reason we're a terrible franchise. And I'm usually disgusted by the negativity on the board. However...

Not getting A-Gon hurts. Badly. Most posters are correct that we won't be a serious contender without a serious star or two. We have enough average to better-than-average players in our lineup, and getting another doesn't help. Bartlett doesn't really help, neither does Reynolds. I don't even think a Konerko or V-Martinez helps us truly compete. We needed Tex. We needed A-Gon. We need a Pujols. Expensive? Yes. Risky? Maybe. But it's the only way to really have a shot.

I bet Jones, Tillman, and Reimold/Mahoney/whomever for Gonzales would've tempted the Padres. Move Pie to center and then pay up for a Werth or Crawford in left. Still would've kept all the important arms, too. If we're not gonna go in big, then don't do anything at all.

Sorry for the "I can do better than McFail" tone...usually I would be defending the front office. Not this time.

Jeff,

Any chance the Orioles might make a serious run at a trade with the Brewers for Prince Fielder? What kind of a package would MacPhail have to put on the table?

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Jeff Z's reply: There is a chance, but a lot of factors working against it, none bigger than the fact that you'd have to sign him to an extension before making that deal. Fielder's agent is Scott Boras by the way. I'd assume the Brewers would be looking for three or four players, and Major League-ready young pitching. But I don't know their thoughts on the individual O's players and who they like and who they don't.

Mark Halpern, you're a glory hunter. Really, how can you say 'we'? You can keep the Red Sox, dude.

hey jeff i dont know about any of these people who are hackling reynolds but i think that will be a major upgrade to our team. We lacked power at the corner infield positions and i was never sold on wiggingtons first half play because he was mediocre in the 2nd half. Reynolds provides power and hes a great defensive player i think giving up hernandez and tillman is more than fair but my question to you is do you think konerko will sign with us if we land reynolds. i mean we would show him that we are serious about the direction of our team?

thanks

Squirrel & Jeff -

I'm just saying what it would take to get Beltre. Whether or not the O's should do it is a different story.

What's really going on here is that management has dug a huge hole for this team and they're going to have to do something drastic/huge to get out of it. This year, unless you think Andy's willing to jump the $100M hurdle, the only option left is Beltre.

@rick, ever the optimist : Great post and I have always felt that way. Sure a great bat to protect other hitters might be nice but Buck did not come here with delusions about what was going to happen in the off season, nor the authority to have serious input. We will have a good respectable season next year (sign Koji) and that will make all the difference. The whiners will whine but please be realistic.

Jeff -

That was a good piece you just wrote. Honest, to the point, and I apprieciate it. You are a true professional, but to be honest, I don't know how you put up with it.

Maybe I'm just speaking as an O's fan (I don't know which team your heart lies with), but I can't imagine year after year consoling the fans whom you blog with and constantly take the brunt end of being, basically, the informer. It would tax the hell out of me, and to be honest, I would NEED to go to another city. It's gotta be depressing, especially giving the fact that you have first-handedly witnessed the demise of this franchise from almost day one.

I guess the money is good, but I'm sure it would be nice to cover a team that actually brings GOOD NEWS every once in a while. The Showalter hiring was good news, but geez, it would be nice to back it up with more than the aberation of 2 months of good baseball. Then to put up with the BS of the fans just because you relay a simple rumor or speculation.....

Guys like you, Schmuck and even Connelly need to be commended for not slitting your wrists while dealing with this depressing mess over the past 13+ years. It's like Eore from Winnie the Pooh, "Well, I guess it's gonna rain again". Or the Hippy Dippy Weather Man, "Forecast tonite....dark. With a chance of light at dawn".

Keep on keeping on, man.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Thanks a lot for the kind words. It does get difficult at times. I'll be honest, I've been covering this team since 2005 and the last two days were probably as angry as I've heard Oriole fans.

Last post was from me, my bad

Reynolds and LaRoche played the corners for the D Backs last season. They finished a game behind the O's.

Ok--We aren't going to do much, so what do you think of this idea.

Sign 2B-Bartlett and SS-Hardy--1/yr each
Sign Vlad to DH--2yr/$16-20M
Trade for Reynolds
Sign SP
Sign RP

1b-Scott
2b-Bartlett
Ss-Hardy
3b-Reynolds
C-Weiters
Lf-Roberts
Cf-Jones
Rf-Markakis
Dh-Guerrero

This line-up would be an improvement and include players who have won...no-long term investment...not too costly.

WooHoo

I am so tired of hearing O's fans complain about Andy Mac. Really people, he's doing the best he can. 13 years of losing, poor managment and a [poor] owner are making it difficult for him to accomplish anything major. We have some good young arms in the minors, so I really think our pitching future looks bright. Reimold was hurting alot I think last year, I honestly see big things from him this year. He could prove to be the middle of the order bat we're looking for. It is really impossible to repair in a couple of years what it took several idiots 13 years to destroy. You don't need to overpay now for the sake of signing someone. There was not 1 free agent out there who could of turned this thing around by himself. Next years class looks much better. Build on what we accomplished at the end of the year last year, show some decent progress. Maybe then next year, we start to look a bit more attractive to some big name players. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will the Orioles be.

McFail loves ex-Cubs. Derrick Lee will be our premier free agent signing this winter. He fits the O's mold perfect. Getting old, bat slowing down, fading skills. Our kind of player.

Isn't it obvious that if McFail did not waste $6M on an unproven closer like Gonzalez and another $6M on a fading player like Derrick Lee, that $12M and a few more could go to a player who could make a real impact?

But the really bad news is McFail seems to be dropping in the group of potential Selig replacements. That means we could be stuck with him indefinitely as no way Angelos ever gets rid of him as he manages the team payroll progressively lower.

Awesome. Now that the O's have struck out on any upgrades that would have been willing to play here, they're going to waste their money on a multiyear deal for a reliever.Posted by: not brooks
________________

Please name the "upgrades" that would be willing to play here, followed by your source for proof of that fact. It's hilarious that you would be willing to pay (none of your money of course) $90 million for five years to a guy (Beltre) who only shows up the final year of a contract. Yeah, that would sure be a wise investment. Then you will scream when Wieters and Matusz sign elsewhere because of no money while a player who sucks every year of a multi-year contract except the last year is getting $90 million for five years.

Jeff,

I am still optimistic. Do you think that if we were to sign LaRoche (please not Pena), Sherrill (who I am really happy to see that they do have an interest in) and traded something for Reynolds, that we would be significantly better? It seems like we would be a far better team at that point, even if it isn't the Red Sox or Yankees. What do you think?

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Hard to see. Transition to AL for Reynolds would be worth watching. But sure, I'm sure they'd be better. But the Yanks are going to better with Jeter, Rivera back and mostly likely Lee coming. And the Red Sox are going to be better with Gonzalez and possibilty Werth/Crawford and a rebuilt bullpen. So O's could be better but they could still lose as many or more games than last year.

That "veteran arm in Kevin Millwood" plan worked real well for the O's last year, didn't it?

I just don't understand what it is going to take for the front office to realize that this is a bad team, in a bad situation, with a thin minor-league system and actually commit to rebuilding -- instead of continually assuring the fanbase that we're "one bat" or "one arm" away from contending.

This is a team coming off of back-to-back near-100-loss seasons. You can't just stick a Mark Reynolds -- or even a Cliff Lee or a Mark Teixeira -- into that kind of situation and miraculously gain 30 games in the standings.

Jeff,

i would like to know what keeps you going? When are you going to give up on the orioles and move to another team? Maybe you could write for the Nationals because it looks like in their short teams era, they will have a winning record before us. I have heard rumors about them invlovling lee, crawford, and webb. yeah the orioles can say that. disappointing. Good luck with this job Jeff.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: My bosses would love to tell you my robust paycheck. But no, I still love what I do. There are good days and bad days, but it's still fun and very challenging. That offsets some of the frustrations.

Dear Anonymous,

Football will never be an adequate substitute for baseball.

Hopefully the Orioles improvment the last third of 2010 was the prelude to a much better team.

Jeff Z's reply: Thanks a lot for the kind words. It does get difficult at times. I'll be honest, I've been covering this team since 2005 and the last two days were probably as angry as I've heard Oriole fans.

Jeff

One last thing, I think that it would be awesome if Andy MacPhail had a monthly spot on one these blogs -whether its The Sun or MASN - interacting with the fans and putting to rest, what I think is, insane rumors that might carry no weight to his supposed direction. I know that's your job, and not of his character, but it would probably clear the air on the crazy things that go on in O's fandom. You can only cover his butt so much. I figure if FDR could have his Fireside Chats during WW2, AM could easily do it with his fans.

Actually, that would be a cool idea. A half-hour monthly chatroom with AM. It will never happen, but it would probably give the fans the notion that he at least cares about fan opinion and score a few points.

The BS "State of the Orioles" he has with his dwindling season ticket holders is too convenient.

Jeff-
Can you explain to me why bringing back Millwood is such a bad idea in everyone's mind? He provides better experience than most pitchers available and the young guys on the team are already familiar with him. Besides that he pitched well for the most part last year, his losses were not so much products of bad pitching as they were of bad run support if you go back and look at the stats it's obvious. So if we indeed improve our bats why not try?

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I think both sides would agree that Millwood's stuff isn't best suited at this point of his career for the A.L. East.

Jeff writes - "For several reasons, ranging from the players' unwillingness to come to a losing organization to the Orioles’ unwillingness to match their asking price, the Orioles aren’t legitimate suitors right now for Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre. Sure, this the “No Duh” tidbit of the year, but I thought I’d mention it again because it seems there is a small segment of the fan base that expects Beltre to become an Oriole. "

So the Nationals' long winning tradition is the reason why they got Werth?

I do not think that excuse can be used any longer. Jeff, what excuse do you have for the Orioles now?

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: If you give anybody a ridiculous contract, one that can cripple your organization for years, you can get pretty much anybody. I've said that MacPhail is reluctant to overpay. The Orioles need to take risks, they need to be aggressive. They don't need to give out seven-year, $126 million contracts for very good but not superstar players.

From my standpoint, there's nothing more for ou to say, Jeff.

Anybody on this board who resents the Nats paying $18 million a year for 7 years to a player who will never sniff Cooperstown is an idiot. This is definitely one of those time where the best deal is the one you don't make.

Screw the Nats. They have no tradition or history, and now with this deal they have confirmed everything that is bad about the game's current salary structure.

Way to go, Nats!

What air hockey table surface has the best resilience as far as youngsters playing. Is mica good?

There are lots of different AC recharge tools you are able to buy, but most are for the professional and are pretty expensive.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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